Side Effects of Medical Marijuana Listed – Baby Boomers, this one’s for you!

Most Common Side Effects for First-Time Marijuana Users

As a medical marijuana doctor, I am thrilled to meet patients interested in using cannabis for the first time as an alternative to the more dangerous and habit-forming medications like opiates and benzodiazepines.

However, in this group of patients, especially among the baby boomer generation and older, I cannot over-emphasize the importance of knowing the potential side effects associated with initial use.

These side effects fade within the first few times of use, but can recur after a cannabis holiday or when trying a new marijuana strain. My mantra to these rookie patients is to “go low, go slow, and stay low.”

Go Low, Go Slow, Stay Low

Go Low: At the dispensary, patients should ask for a “low-potency THC” product. THC percentage is not an accurate representation of strength as it depends on the type of product used, e.g., edible vs whole flower vs wax.

Go Slow: Patients should use small amounts of THC at a time and wait several hours as some strains can take hours to take effect or “kick in”, e.g., no more than 5 mg THC at a time for the few days of treatment. Since most edibles come in 5 mg increments, some patients may need to cut these in half if not in quarters to reduce the first dose even further.

Stay Low: I strongly encourage patients to take their first couple of doses while sitting down or already in bed, to avoid passing out or even vomiting in the event the initial wave of side effects is pronounced.

Read next: Indicas, Sativas, and Hybrids Explained

Effects On The Body

Dry Mouth: A widely reported side effect, dry mouth or “cottonmouth,” occurs when salivary glands produce less saliva. So, keep water handy or try chewing citrus-flavored gum.

Red Eyes: The blood vessels in your eyes may expand after consuming marijuana, causing them to look red, and bloodshot as well as feeling dry and gritty. Over-the-counter eye drops can help.

Dizziness: A temporary drop in blood pressure may cause dizziness or lightheadedness. This sensation usually subsides after a few minutes, so it’s important to sit or lie down and avoid doing any potentially hazardous activities.

Increased Heart Rate: Some individuals may experience an elevated heart rate after using marijuana. Although this side effect is short-lived, if you have a pre-existing heart condition, I recommend consulting a medical marijuana provider before trying cannabis.

Impaired Coordination: Marijuana can impact your motor skills and coordination, making it difficult to perform tasks that require precision or balance. It’s crucial to avoid driving or operating heavy machinery while under the influence.

Effects On The Brain

Short-term Memory Loss: First-time users might find it challenging to retain new information while under the influence of marijuana. This effect is temporary and generally subsides once the marijuana has left your system or after a cannabis holiday.

Increased Appetite: Also known as “the munchies,” both rookies and pro users experience an increase in appetite. Be mindful of your food choices and try to opt for healthy snacks.

Anxiety or Paranoia: While marijuana can help alleviate anxiety for some individuals, others may experience heightened anxiety or paranoia. Starting with a low dose and a strain that is higher in CBD can help minimize these effects. Patients with underlying schizophrenia should take this into account when considering medical marijuana as a therapeutic option and use caution when trying it for the first time.

Altered Perception: Changes in the perception of time, space, and sensory experiences are common with marijuana use. First-time users should ensure they are in a comfortable, safe environment when trying cannabis.

Drowsiness or Fatigue: Marijuana can cause sedation in some users, which may be beneficial for those seeking relief from insomnia. However, for others, this side effect may be undesirable. Knowing what to ask for at your dispensary (products for daytime vs nighttime use) is helpful when trying to avoid the sedating effects characteristic of so many marijuana strains.

Read next: What is the Entourage Effect?

Know What’s Right For You

As a medical marijuana doctor at Rapid Referrals, I have seen firsthand the benefits of cannabis for my patients, family, and friends. It’s important to understand that everyone’s first experience with marijuana is unique, and side effects may vary. To minimize potential adverse reactions, I recommend that all my rookie patients remember this one mantra: “Go low, go slow, and stay low.” Choosing a specific strain that aligns with your desired treatment goals will also help minimize any unwanted effects. And, most importantly, consult a medical marijuana provider if you have any concerns or pre-existing conditions. Enjoy your first-time experience responsibly and safely!

Read next: What are the health benefits of terpenes in medical marijuana?

Tips and Recommendations for First-Time Cannabis Patients

Walking into a medical marijuana dispensary for the first time can be intimidating and overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the world of cannabis. But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. In this blog series, we share some tips and recommendations to help you overcome your anxiety and gain confidence as a medical marijuana patient. Whether you’re looking for pain relief, stress reduction, or just a good time, we’ll provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions at the dispensary. After reading these articles,  we hope you’ll be even more confident about taking the first steps toward an enjoyable and beneficial cannabis experience.

Need Your Medical Marijuana Card?

Here at our clinic, we firmly believe that patient satisfaction is the most important factor in providing medical marijuana cards. That’s why we provide full technical support from start to finish and prioritize ensuring each customer is satisfied! Additionally, because your time is valuable, if you’re experiencing any urgency with obtaining your card or accessing dispensaries just give us a call today – we’ve got you covered!

Medical cannabis or medical marijuana is for qualified patients only.

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